The Third Trimester

(Read about the first trimester here and the second trimester here).

So, in discussing Chocolate Cranberry Quick Bread, I slipped that we had our baby, but I still haven't told you about my third trimester!  Before I give up the goods on our little doll face and flood this blog with baby pictures, lets talk about the last chunk of pregnancy.

In the last trimester I continued to grow and grow.  My feet seemed to be permanently swollen and my right ribcage perpetually bumped.  That said, these were small things and I felt good.  I continued with prenatal yoga and although some moves became more difficult, and others impossible, it still felt good to stretch my body and get centered in preparation for birth.

The hubs and I also did the Must Have Tools for Labor class at Herself Moms.  What a great class!  We wanted a class that focused on natural birth and we were hoping for something that we could knock out in 1 or 2 days as opposed to a week(s) or month long class.....this is the way to go if that is what you are also looking for.  The class mostly focused on how the partner can help mom through labor and gave so much great information.  I really can't say enough about it.

Also in the third trimester, two beautiful baby showers were thrown for me, I feel so lucky to have such a gigantic family.

The final thing for me to do in the third trimester was to figure out when to go out of work.  I really agonized over this!  If you are trying to figure out maternity leave in CA, this is the long and short of it:
4 weeks before birth
6-8 weeks after birth (6 weeks for a natural birth & 8 weeks for a C-section)
6 weeks Paid Family Leave (baby bonding time paid by the state...eligible if you pay into state disability)
So, that 4 weeks before.  I didn't think I needed 4 weeks before and I also didn't want to time it wrong where it cut into my time on the back end.  For example, if you are due 10/1, like I was, and you stop working 9/1 and then your baby is born 10/5, the time between the 1st of October and the 5th of October comes out of your 6-8 weeks post baby leave.  I was scheduled to have 9/17 be my last day of work.  I was convinced my baby would come late so I thought I would have a little over 2 weeks off before she arrived.  I ended up going out on the 15th instead.  I was tired and it was time.  My baby came on the 25th, so I only had 10 days before she was born.  My advice to new moms is take the whole 4 weeks, time it as best you can and don't stress out over it.  You will be more tired and get less done when your baby arrives, so just give yourself the time!
Overall the third trimester was another great section of pregnancy for me.  I was very blessed to have a really wonderful pregnancy, but that's not to say there weren't some big surprises at the end......but, I'm going to wait to share these when I tell you our birth story!  Stay tuned!
In the meantime watch me grow in superfast time....
1lxuir on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs
make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

That is all for now friends.  Happy Monday!


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Chocolate Cranberry Quick Bread

Hey friends!  If you hadn't noticed I've been on a bit of a hiatus.  We had a baby!

Miss Sydney was born September 25th.  Words cannot express our love for this sweet little one.  I can't wait to share all of the details about her birth and our last few months together at home, but first I'm going to tell you about Chocolate Cranberry Quick Bread!

This is a super easy sweet breakfast addition or dessert for the Holidays.  The rich chocolate paired with tart cranberry is super delish!

If you are looking for something quick to make this is your dish.  Hope you enjoy it!
I'll be back soon to tell you all about that babe!


1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups applesauce (sweetened or unsweetened)
2 teaspoons quality vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh cranberries

How to:

Preheat oven to 350
Melt 1 cup chocolate chips/chunks in microwave safe bowl or on your stovetop if you don't have a microwave (like us!).  Set aside.
Using your stand mixer or in a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. 
Once chocolate is cool, add chocolate and eggs, mix well. 
Then add applesauce and vanilla, mix well.
In a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt).
Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix well.
Stir in remaining chocolate chips/chunks and fresh cranberries.
Pour batter into 2  (9x5) greased loaf pans (I use coconut oil spray to grease my pans).
Bake in 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Eat and enjoy!



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Cool Thing Friday #15

Yay for Friday!

Would you kiss a stranger...on film? {via}

Here are some nifty baking hacks. #27 is pretty genius, as is #39.

Can I just say I'm impressed by ripped Jessica Simpson lately?  Those legs!  Gives this mama to be some inspiration for post pregnancy work outs and results.

Apparently this kid is just plain awesome, apparently.

Apparently Ellen thought so too.

I'll bet the bike was returned.

I think I want to try this.

Beer.  A good reason to live in CA.

Loving these honest slogans.

That is all.  Have a marvelous weekend


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Books of Late #5

I'm still devouring books over here and these are the latest....

What Alice Forgot - Reading this book can feel frustrating, but ultimately that's what makes it such a good read.  This is the story of Alice and how she hit her head during spin class and forgot the last 10 years of her life.  As the reader, we regain Alice's memories essentially at the same time she does - this is what's will want to know what Alice is forgetting as much as she does.  I couldn't put this book down because I. Just. Wanted. To. Know!  This should be filed in the chick lit category, it's a good, fun, summer read.

The Signature of All Things - I loved the beginning of this book, with the adventure, travel and history as we the reader(s) learn about Henry Whittaker and his rise from boy thief to successful businessman. Then we meet Alma Whittaker, Henry's daughter and our true main character.  Alma is interesting herself, but her story dragged for me throughout the middle.  Once Alma becomes married some mystery arrives and the adventure, travel and history return.  This is a good book but was totally unexpected for me to have come from Elizabeth Gilbert.

The Silver Star - Jeanette Wall's The Glass Castle is one of my favorite books, so maybe my expectations for Silver Star started out too high.  The narrator of this book is 12 year old bean.  The story is good, but it definitely feels like reading a pre-teen/teen book.  Although I wasn't terribly disappointed in this quick read, I guess I expected more.

Where'd You Go Bernadette? - This book hit me from out of nowhere, it was so far from what I expected I was instantly hooked.  A compilation of e-mail messages, newsletters and other "media" writing combined with some narration from one of the main characters, a girl named Bee, this book was written in a way I have only seen one other time (in a book I can't remember the title of).  Part gossip, party mystery, part happy, part sad....I really liked this book because it caught me off guard.  I finished it in about 2 days I was so hooked.  Makes for great poolside enjoyment.

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My husband, step-son and nephew recently headed out for an all boys camping trip.  On the top of the grocery list were S'More fixins, including Honey Maid Graham crackers.

Honey Maid Grahams are a staple in our house, the perfect cure for a sweet tooth or just a simple snack, we all eat them, all of the time.  So when the opportunity arose to collaborate with Honey Maid and PopSugar I was game just based on the product alone.  It was later that I was introduced to Honey Maid's #thisiswholesome campaign and related commercial.  Are you familiar with it?  If not, please watch.

I was honestly thrilled when I saw this ad.  I think this is such a brave and beautiful message for a large brand like Honey Maid to share.  Beyond my fondness for their Graham Crackers, I am proud to be supporting Honey Maid and the #thisiswholesome campaign as it demonstrates such a positive image of people we love and care about and our little family as well.

Tina Norton Photography
I think of our family as wholesome, but it saddens me to know that there are plenty of people in the world who would look at us and see things differently.

As a mixed-race couple I am happy to say we have not had any negative experiences, at least that we are aware of.  But the reality is, even in 2014, there are places that as a family we may think twice about visiting, there are people in the world who will view us negatively because of the color of our skin and we do worry about our children and experiences they may encounter in their lives.

Beyond the differences in our skin are the other differences in our family unit.  The cute boy in that photo is my step-son and we co-parent with his mom.  The little girl in my tummy will be his half-sister.  

Our backgrounds are also different.  My husband calls himself "brown"; he grew up with a black father and a white mother who were married until his Dad passed away 12 years ago.  My parents divorced when I was three and re-married when I was five.  He grew up in a house with 2 parents, I grew up in 2 houses with 4 parents.  He has a "whole" sibling and 6 half siblings.  I have zero "whole" siblings, 1 half sibling and 2 step-siblings.  He grew up LDS, I grew up not attending church.  He didn't know any gay people until he was in high school. I have 3 gay family members and was a flower girl in my gay uncle's wedding when I was 11. My family is liberal and granola.  His is conservative and traditional.  

My point is this: our beauty as humans is made up of our differences.  Wholesome is not defined by a picture that fits in a box, but defined by individuals, our beautiful differences and how we choose to share good with the world.  Honey Maid understands this and their message can be an inspiration for all of us.  #thisiswholesome.  May something as simple as a graham cracker be your reminder.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Honey Maid through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Honey Maid, all opinions are my own.

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Cool Thing Friday #14

I miss ya'll.  I'm doing my best to get posts up but I am overwhelmed by what I've got in the queue and what I've got in my belly (it is t-minus time folks).

Here is some cool stuff for this week!

Imagine that.  Look what happens when we just let them play!

These crack me up. {via}

Proof that education in America is suffering. {via}

More proof.

Thankfully there are smart people in the world.  Check out what this 3D printer can do.  Admittedly, it took me awhile to understand the 3D printer! {via}

Or you could just 3D print yourself a castle.

What do you mean Hello Kitty is not a cat?  Why is she called Hello Kitty?  

Did you know Bill Murray is pretty awesome?  Number 13 is my favorite.
Oh, he did this too.

Baby photo gone wrong.  (Warning: poop!)


It's so funny how baby is smiling in pic #2.

Love this slideshow from National Geographic, especially this picture as it is where we were married just over 3 years ago.

Well friends, Happy Friday!


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Cool Thing Friday #13

Ohhhh #13, should we be scurred?  Nah.

Although these cities from high above do make my bum tingle a bit #afraidofheights

This video is amazing.

Having a bad day?  Bet it's not as bad as this.

I have a mild obsession with these vanishing tribes.

Some fish stories are real, like this one and this one and this one.

Usually I would never say no to ice cream but....yeah NO!

I want to see this movie and eat this food.

Really ladies?  Really?

Best infographic ever.

Happy Friday!


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Cool Thing Friday #12 - Before & After, Side by Side

This Cool Thing Friday I have the day off!  So I'm sharing Friday's cool stuff today - Before & After's and Side by Sides.

Someday Nicholas and I will hike the PCT.  This guy did it and you can watch his 1700 mile, 159 day journey and 90lb transformation in just 3 minutes.  The end is the best part.

This is a crazy transformation in Mississippi.

Since we have to wait until January for Downton to start again, we can bide our time looking at our favorite characters in and out of costume.  Mrs. Hughes!

And if you binge watched Orange Is the New Black like me...and now its over, we can bide our time looking at our favorite characters in and out of costume.  Crazy Eyes!

This photojournalist had 40 Photoshop experts around the world retouch her photo to match their idea of beauty.  {Full slideshow here}.  Why am I not surprised that the US looks the most creepy?


And our own personal boy and dog.

Most of these are like woah!  But I'm not going for Leo or Zach Ganlifianakis. {via}

Love a celebrity look alike?  Check out faux Emma Watson.

Alrighty friends, happy Friday to all and to all a good weekend, especially those with a 3 day weekend.


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Cool Thing Friday #11 - Babies and Boobies

So, it's National Breastfeeding month.

Considering that, maybe we should start the month off by awarding this teen barista at Starbucks.

Here is a breastfeeding chart with some interesting facts...

Way to go CA, OR & ID!

I don't really understand why breastfeeding has seemed to be such a big deal in the news lately.  I saw something that said we should stop calling it breastfeeding and start calling it baby-feeding....we aren't feeding our breasts anyway, right?  Would people really be less freaked out if we said "I'm baby feeding" instead of "I'm breastfeeding"?  Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing people.  Really.  Let's not make it sexual just because boobs are involved, OK?  It is about feeding and nourishing a baby in the best and most healthy way available.  That is all.

How about this Dad and his baby?

You can check out his awesome photo series here.

Dang girl. And Dad.  I don't know how keen I'd be on my husband if he filmed my labor on a GoPro!  In a parking lot no less!

A Cup of Jo is doing her Motherhood Around the World series again, it's so intriguing, I'm loving it!

Is it  just me or does this seem like a terrible idea for welcoming a new baby home?  I suppose I should consider the source.  Just sayin'.

Loving these photos, this blended family and this adorable baby.

Sorry, but this weirds me out.  What a family dynamic!

Last but not least, we had some amazing family pictures (and maternity photos) taken a few weeks ago!

If you are in the Sacramento area and looking for a photographer, please call Tina Norton and tell her I sent you!

Cheers to babies & boobies on this Friday!


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Books of Late #4

Hi Friends,
I've been on a reading tip of late, consuming books as the summer flies by.
Let's check out a few......

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

Ahhh David Sedaris.  Funny man and frequent contributor to This American Life.  My favorite David Sedaris book is Me Talk Pretty One Day, but Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls did not disappoint.  A collection of essays, this book is easy to read and good for a giggle.

As a side note, in the book David talks about his disgust for the amount of litter in the area he lives in, so he begins collecting trash on his own time.  I just saw this article, it looks like his work is paying off!

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

This was a re-read.  This is another collection of short stories, but pay attention, they overlap meeting certain characters at different points and taking sub-characters from one story and making them main characters in another story.  It is a short glimpse into others lives and I like that kind of book.

Everything Is Perfect When You're a Liar

I did not finish this book.  This is saying a lot considering I will read junk just to get to the end or learn the whole story no matter how bad it is.  Case in point: my Dad bought me the book by Pulitzer Prize Winning author Dog the Bounty Hunter as a joke; I read the whole thing just so I could go through and red pen all the grammatical errors.  Considering I couldn't even finish Everything is Perfect when You're a Liar I guess we can say I was not a fan.  I read that Kelly Oxford is popular on Twitter (?).  I was not aware of her until I heard about this book on another blog.  Based on the Amazon reviews it seems people like her better on Twitter than as an author/autobiographer.  I'm just going to tell you I (really) didn't like her book.

The Lowland

To put it simply, this story is beautifully told.  Spanning several decades, it is the tale of one family and the many changes they go through, both good and bad.  The story is told at different points from different characters perspectives.  It is very easy to get lost in this book.  I would not be surprised if this was turned into a movie and if it does I would love to see it.  If you have not read a Jhumpa Lahiri novel before, I would also recommend The Namesake, which is another great was made into a movie.

So, what have you been reading this summer?


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Mountain Man Rendezvous

Every summer just on the edge of West Yellowstone you will find a little festival called Mountain Man Rendezvous.

Sadly, we aren't in Montana this year to see it, but we did have a fun stop there last year.  Fur hats and all.

There are lots of things to buy from furniture to horns...

Testing out a porch swing....

There are numerous tents and lots of characters dressed to period, all worth checking out.

Lucky for you if you're in the West Yellowstone area, Mountain Man Rendezvous is going on right now!

Stop by and say hi to everyone for us!


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